6 schools from across Asia join BIS for the Nord Anglia Education STEAM Festival 2024 - 6 schools from across Asia join BIS for the Nord Anglia Education STEAM Festival 2024
Chantal Gamble
05 April, 2024

6 schools from across South East Asia embark on a journey to BIS and beyond for the Nord Anglia Education STEAM Festival 2024

6 schools from across Asia join BIS for the Nord Anglia Education STEAM Festival 2024 - 6 schools from across Asia join BIS for the Nord Anglia Education STEAM Festival 2024

In March, we welcomed student STEAM teams from St. Andrews Bangkok, Nord Anglia International School Manila, and Regents International School Pattaya, alongside our sister schools in Vietnam; BVIS HCMC, BIS Hanoi and BVIS Hanoi to join the Nord Anglia Education SEA STEAM Festival 2024. The theme for this year was “Otherworldly” where each expeditionary team prepared for populating an exoplanet, planning everything from delivering their supplies, to building transportation and shelter. 

As STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Maths, the festival brought together a wide range of subjects for a truly interdisciplinary project.

Guided by Mr Colin Astbury, Mr John Handscombe and Ms Joanne Santos, BIS HCMC’s three campus STEAM leads and the STEAM student ambassadors, the “explorers” challenged themselves to successfully colonise the new planet.

6 schools from across Asia join BIS for the Nord Anglia Education STEAM Festival 2024 - 6 schools from across Asia join BIS for the Nord Anglia Education STEAM Festival 2024

Our student STEAM Ambassadors, Sonali, Jayden and Kevin

Otherworldly mission: Day 0 - Introduction to Vietnam

The six schools arrived at BIS HCMC on Friday afternoon with a warm welcome from our Vietnamese teachers who introduced Vietnamese culture and language, as well as a traditional calligraphy workshop. This was especially interesting to our guests from Thailand and the Philippines as it gave them the opportunity to settle into Vietnam and get to know one another before they “jetted off” to their exoplanet the following morning. 

Otherworldly mission: Day 1 - Building shelter and transportation

Day 1 began with an introduction to the task at hand: “You and your team are part of an
expeditionary team approaching an exoplanet. You know its location and that it's potentially
habitable, but that is all. For some unknown reason, you will not know the colours, the land
mass, the size, the position from the sun etc. until you get there.”

Our STEAM teachers then introduced the teams to the problem-solving model we use at BIS HCMC:

ANALYSIS: What’s the problem? What would a successful solution achieve? What are your success criteria?
DESIGN: How do you propose to solve the problem? Sketches, plans, etc.
BUILD: Solve your problem. Create your solution.
EVALUATE: What was your actual solution? Most importantly, did it meet the success criteria?

This model then ensured students became accustomed to breaking down their problems into small manageable chunks in order to come up with innovative solutions.

First teams created a model of their planet to visualise the colours, amount of land and types of terrain, as well as any suns and objects orbiting it.
The teams then discovered that since the landscape was pretty rugged, they’d have difficulties delivering their equipment down to the surface. Task 1 - Create a parachute that would get their kit onto the surface smoothly and carefully. The teams planned, built and tested their designs. After a successful landing, their next job was to build shelter, since they didn’t know what kind of extreme weather conditions they may encounter. 
Tasks 3 and 4 were about adapting to the terrain. First, the team had to create transport for the uneven landscape. They’d also need to code their vehicle to allow it to drive autonomously - because who knows what unknown animal or toxic environment they may discover. The vehicles also had to move over large craters and valleys, so next they used their engineering skills to build a bridge. 

Otherworldly Mission: Day 2 - Growing food, sourcing power and communication

Day 2, task 1 consisted of growing food! The teams had to decipher what kind of soils are on their planet and how this will affect the plants that can grow there. After being given seeds from Svalbard Global Seed Vault, they then had to figure out…

  • What kind of soils are on their planet and how will this affect what plants can grow there
  • An automated way to water and maintain the crops
  • What kind of pots they can create to protect them from the elements
  • How to grow seeds in space…and in a limited space

Luckily the teams not only had some prior knowledge on the topic from a recent MIT Challenge, but they could research more about this on the NASA website to give them a head start. 


For the final two tasks, we fast-forwarded a couple of years to the point where the new planet community were more established. Inspired by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs), the teams now had to establish their own charter and standards by which their community would live. 

A successful mission to new worlds


From designing and building landing mechanisms to constructing shelters and developing transportation systems, students tackled each task with creativity and problem-solving skills. They collaborated in teams, utilising their knowledge of science, engineering, and technology to overcome obstacles and achieve mission objectives.

Throughout the event, participants delved into diverse areas of study, including planetary geology, sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, and social development goals. They not only honed their technical skills, but also cultivated a deeper understanding of teamwork, critical thinking, and innovation.

By the finale, students showcased their accomplishments through displays and presentations, reflecting on their journey of discovery and collaboration. The festival provided a dynamic platform for students to apply classroom learning to real-world challenges, fostering curiosity, resilience, and a passion for STEAM disciplines.


Our otherworldly STEAM festival was truly an interdisciplinary exploration of life. A real-life scenario (albeit in the future) where students must create innovative solutions to some of the biggest problems our future society may face. Thank you to all of the schools who joined us in this exploration, our teachers and staff who organised this huge event, and our student STEAM ambassadors for supporting our “explorers”. Thankfully all participants landed safely back on planet Earth and returned to their schools with incredible stories to tell.